General Mills has temporarily removed its iconic bee mascot “Buzz” from Honey Nut Cheerios packaging in a Canadian ad campaign called “Bring Back the Bees,” targeted at raising awareness about the severity of declining honey bee populations around the globe.
The drop in honey bee colonies has garnered worldwide attention in recent years. Regulators in the European Union and here in the U.S. have begun restricting the use of suspected chemical pesticides known as neonicotinoids linked to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious condition leading millions of bees to leave their hives and die.
"This is the first time in the brand's history that we've taken 'Buzz' off the box," Emma Eriksson, director of Marketing for General Mills Canada told AdWeek. "One-third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by the natural pollination work that bees provide. With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers—one for every person in Canada."
The General Mills campaign, which launched on Monday, is part of the company’s “purpose-based marketing,” a commitment to what it says is going beyond traditional marketing efforts designed to sell more product. Campaigns like “Bring Back the Bees” target an emotional connection with consumers and issues that are near and dear to their hearts.
Honey bees pollinate a significant number of crops—an estimated one-third of all food we eat is pollinated by bees or other pollinators.
The General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios "Bring Back the Bees" campaign runs from March to July.
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Honey Nut Cheerios image via SwitchYard Media